Wednesday, August 8, 2012

You wanna see heroism?

I'm as sick as anyone of the conspicuously modern vulgarity of attaching the word "hero" to anything and everything, which of course renders it increasingly meaningless*.  Just as with this great line from The Incredibles:

Then everyone can be super!  And when everyone is one will be.

With a deep tip of the hat to Claire, I think I've found a standard response to those who insist that something perfectly ordinary for a decent person, or (much worse) something that's actually vile and disgusting (such as the actions of a politician, enforcement thug, or their apologists), deserves to have the term "hero" attached to it.

You wanna see heroism?  Watch this:

I just saw it for the first time a few moments ago (it seems to have been posted back in '09), so I won't claim to have exhaustively determined the veracity of the report.  But Claire doesn't report things lightly, and at any rate it hardly matters to make the point.

For the stubbornly nit-witted:  yes, I understand that "hero" can encompass more than valor and courage, which are what is on display here.  But there is an enormous difference between what you see here, and the actions of, say, a cop who "just wants to come home from his shift" and so administers all sort and manner of unwarranted pre-emptive harassment and/or violence to ensure it.  The dog is a hero, the cop is a thug.  (To those who would remind me to think of the cop's family, I would simply say:  well hell, a whole lot of us Mundanes out here think about our families too, without resorting to using them as an affirmative and cynical justification for any sort of abuse of power you care to imagine.  And unlike anyone in "authority", we actually have to weigh all of that against the consequences of our actions.  Remind me again who the effin' hero is?  'Cause I kinda lost it in all the bullshit.)

* For anyone further interested in a useful discussion, here's one to ponder:  Consider the yin-yang implications of rendering "hero" meaningless among everyday actions.  That's a semantic example.  But how about a more conceptual example?  The whole concept of liberty is predicated on exactly this idea, but in reverse.  Just as heroism is only valid when it is truly exceptional, so liberty is only achieved when power is not just a little decentralized, but completely decentralized.  When nobody has "legally" sanctioned power over another, only then can one argue that they are truly (all) free.

"When everyone is one will be."  "Liberty is either for everyone, or it is for no one."  Two different applications of the yin-yang principle.  (The eagle-analysts may note that the liberty example, to be complete and truly yin-yang, would depend upon effective self-management in the individual, including the common fidelity to the non-aggression concept.  That is arguably problematic in a large population, but at least it's voluntary, and many of "us" would argue that is enough to make it preferable to the atrocity-circus that afflicts us now.  Anyway, there is much to discuss here, I would think.)

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